Russell's Viper ( Daboia russelii Shaw and Nodder, 1797 )

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Scientific Name: 
Daboia russelii (Shaw and Nodder, 1797)
Regional Names: 
Chain Viper
Parran, Chitti, Kaudia. hindi names are variable and region specific.
Anali, Manchatti, Payyana Mandali, Chenathandan, Mandali, Payyani, Rakthamandali, Rudiramandali, Rakthaanali, Kannadiviriyan, Manchatti, Vattackura, Pullan, Kuthirakulamban
ಕೊಳಕ ಮಂಡಲ
Yellowish-brown form. Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh
Venom Type: 
Characteristics for identification: 
Thick body of brown color range with eye like spots in whole dorsal surface. Produce whistle like sound in coiled position to alarm its enemy.

Length -
General length 4ft approx but can grow up to 6ft(rarely).

Dorsal body -
Body stout with highly keeled pointed and shine-less scales. Dorsal brown which may be mixed with grey, red or yellow, rarely with only grey in whole dorsal body. Color and patterns become faint in adults. Continuous or discontinuous eye like spots of dark brown or blackish color present in three longitudinal rows along the body; starts from head and generally become faint or absent on tail. Color inside these spots may be lighter , darker, same like main dorsal surface or may be solid. Side spots are more rounded, smaller than spots present on the top and generally discontinuous. All type of patterns or spots may be absent totally in few adult specimens(records from various parts of country).

Ventral body -
Belly color white or light yellow with dark brown or blackish semi lunar spots at the edge of most of ventral. Subcaudal scales paired in Zig-Zag manner and ends with pointed tip; usually have yellowish color which is darker than ventral body.

Head -
Head triangular, pointed with small shaped keeled scale; clearly broader than neck. Two triangular shaped spots(of rounded edge) exist in each specimen. Upper lip color pinkish white mostly. Supra nasal crescentic with large nostril. Eyes have vertical pupil. Two very long fangs present in front side of mouth in any life stage.

Tail -
Rather small tail with pointed tip with typical keeled scales; usually without patterns in most of life.

10-12 Supralabials; 10 to 15 small size scales surrounding eyes.
Highly keeled scales in 25-29:27-33:21-23 rows.
153-180; Anal undivided.
Sub Caudal: 
41-64; divided.
Russell’s Viper is Nocturnal species like other Vipers; but can be sighted in scrubs and bushes during day time for basking; during winter it can stay at a single place for more than one day for mating and basking purpose. Lives in bushes, scrubs, rocks, dense vegetation, agricultural lands, dry leaves, grasslands, wood piles etc. Behavior very agile and uncertain on provocation; first produce whistle sound (like a pressure cooker) to alarm its threat, make coil with head at the center and may attack anytime on further disturbance. Can bite even when its body is elongated during creeping. Not a very good climber and like to remain on ground for better adjustment with surrounding. In rare cases it can climb in opposite conditions up to certain heights; Once a subadult found to be climbed on a hut in December month in MP.
Feed on rodents, birds, lizards and small mammals.
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